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#109 Overall Influence #34 Desirability Rank

Wesleyan University

Private liberal arts college in Middletown, Connecticut

Featured Alumnus

John Levi Martin ranks among our Top Influential Sociologists Today.

By James Barham, PhD

Wesleyan University was founded in 1831 under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1872, Wesleyan led the way in admitting female students, an effort sometimes referred to as the “Wesleyan Experiment.” However, resistance to the experiment in certain quarters made itself increasingly felt, until the policy was reversed in 1912. Women were not admitted again until 1970.

In 1937, the university became officially independent from the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Today, Wesleyan is a fully secular, private research university. It comprises 46 undergraduate academic departments which offer more than 900 courses each semester. In addition, the university has 11 graduate-level departmental programs. Among its innovative programs we may mention the College of East Asian Studies, the College of the Environment, the College of Film and the Moving Image, and the College of Integrative Studies.

Wesleyan also has a highly respected world music program, covering West African, Caribbean, African-American, South Asian (classical Indian), Southeast Asian (classical Indonesian), and East Asian (classical Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) traditions, in addition to the traditional European classical music traditions, including contemporary and experimental music.

Wesleyan University is associated with four Nobel Prize laureates, namely,

  • Novelist, V.S. Naipaul for literature
  • Chemist, Satoshi Omura for physiology or medicine
  • Economist, Gary Yohe for peace
  • 28th US President, Woodrow Wilson for peace

In addition, in the early 1960s, towards the end of his life, the great Anglo-American poet, T.S. Eliot, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948, worked as an editor for Wesleyan University Press.

Other prominent Wesleyan-associated individuals include the following:

  • Mathematicians, Edward Burr Van Vleck, Sanford L. Segal & Jennifer Tour Chayes
  • Computer scientist, Leslie Greengard
  • Philosophers, Robert Stalnaker & Daniel Dennett
  • Poets, Richard Wilbur, Donald Hall & Mark Strand
  • Non-fiction authors, Mary Roach, Sebastian Junger & Ariel Levy
  • Literary scholar, Seth Lerer
  • Actors, Alice Nunn, Bradley Whitford, Laura Fraser, Sarah Schaub & William Garson
  • Comedian, Vladimir Caamaño
  • Film director and producer, Michael Bay
  • Film director, producer, and screenwriter, Joss Whedon
  • Film and TV screenwriter, Mike White
  • TV screenwriter and producer, Matthew Weiner
  • Popular musicians, Amanda Palmer, Santigold (Santi White), Andrew VanWyngarden & Ben Goldwasser
  • Jazz saxophonist and composer, Steve Lehman
  • Operatic composer, lyricist, and playwright, Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • Musicologist and classical composer, Neely Bruce
  • Gamelan virtuoso, Sumarsam
  • Experimental classical composer, John Cage
  • Physicist, Edward Bennett Rosa
  • Statistical physicist, H. Eugene Stanley
  • Geologists, William North Rice, Alexander Winchell & Gordon P. Eaton
  • Chemist, Wilbur Olin Atwater
  • Biochemist, Charles Brenner
  • Botanist, Albert Francis Blakeslee
  • Zoologist, Aaron Louis Treadwell
  • Neuroscientist, Michael Greenberg
  • Psychologists, Elliot Aronson, David McClelland & Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • Psychotherapists, Allan Hobson & Amy Bloom
  • Sociologist, Juliet B. Schor
  • Historians, Nicholas Dirks & Kate Cooper
  • Historians of science, Charles C. Gillispie & Gerald Holton
  • American studies scholar, John Stauffer
  • African American studies scholar, Saidiya Hartman
  • Economists, Steven M. Sheffrin, Kenneth D. West & Gary Loveman
  • Economist and political scientist, Charles Tiebout
  • Political scientist, Adam Berinski
  • Legal scholars, Naomi Mezey & Gabriel J. Chin
  • Radio personality, Angela Yee
  • TV journalist and political commentator, John Yang
  • Online newspaper publisher, Robert Allbritton
  • Former Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper
  • Current US Senator, Michael Bennett

From Wikipedia

Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts university in Middletown, Connecticut. Founded in 1831 as a men's college under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church and with the support of prominent residents of Middletown, the college was the first institution of higher education to be named after John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. It is now a secular institution.

Source: Wikipedia


What does this school look for?

Annual Applications




Graduation Rate



How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)


Fees (in-state)


IncomeAverage Net Cost
0 - 30K$3,967
30K - 48K$7,740
48K - 75K$12,629
75K - 110K$19,821

After Graduation

Averages for 10 years after enrolling

Avg Earnings




Campus Life

What's it like to attend this school?

The People

Full time on-campus stats

Student Body






The Campus

Where will you be attending?


45 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown CT 06459

City Crime Rates

Property Crime

20 per 100K

Violent Crime

2 per 100K

What is Wesleyan University known for?

Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.

Top areas of influence with degrees offered

#46 World Rank
#53 World Rank
#74 World Rank
#237 World Rank
#202 World Rank
#104 World Rank
#135 World Rank
Political Science
#253 World Rank
Computer Science
#189 World Rank
#320 World Rank
#173 World Rank
Religious Studies
#426 World Rank
#123 World Rank
#153 World Rank
#438 World Rank
Earth Sciences

Other areas of influence

#84 World Rank
#131 World Rank
#165 World Rank
#188 World Rank
Social Work
#200 World Rank
#375 World Rank
#427 World Rank
Criminal Justice
#460 World Rank
#1342 World Rank

Influential People

Who are Wesleyan University's Most influential alumni?

Wesleyan University 's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Literature, Philosophy, and Psychology

Gabriel J. Chin

American legal scholar

Jay A. Levy

American AIDS and cancer research physician

Richard Slotkin

American historian

Joseph Poindexter

American judge

Alan Marcus


Majora Carter

Majora Carter

American businesswoman; urban revitalization strategist and public radio host

Raymond D. Fogelson

American anthropologist

Robin Cook

Robin Cook

American novelist, ophthalmologist, aquanaut

Stephen S. Trott

Stephen S. Trott

Federal Judge

John Hagel III

John Hagel III

American writer

Wilbur Olin Atwater

Wilbur Olin Atwater

American agricultural chemist; developer of the respiration calorimeter.

Michael E. Greenberg

American scientist